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RFID Tagging of Returnable Transport Items (RTIs): Reusable Packaging

  • Abhishek Shukla
  • Jan 09, 2024
  • RFID
RFID Tagging of Returnable

With the increased focus on recycling and reuse in the light of sustainability efforts and cutting down on plastic waste, RTIs (Returnable Transport Items) such as pallets, crates, and bins are getting very popular and more importantly the reusable packaging that RTIs provides. 

With RTI pooling, many businesses can cut down on their plastic use as well as save costs in buying new plastic crates and pallets. These RTIs are built to last a lot longer than previously used wooden pallets and reuse and recycling of the same allows for extended asset life cycle. 

Many companies provide RTIs to other retail and supply chain businesses on-demand and this is where RFID tagging becomes necessary to keep track of pallets, crates and bins available in the inventory and to estimate the return time, lead time and to monitor the asset life cycle of the RTIs. These plastic load carriers are used very often in industries such as pharmaceuticals, food and beverages and RFID tagging of these Returnable Transport Items allows for enhanced supply chain visibility, better tracking and customer fulfillment. 


What is RFID Tagging of RTIs?

RFID Tagging of Returnable Transport Items (RTIs) has become increasingly popular in recent years as a means of improving logistics and supply chain management and reducing waste. RTIs, also known as reusable packaging or containers, are used to transport products from one location to another, and are designed to be returned and reused multiple times. 

Traditionally, the tracking and management of RTIs has been a time-consuming and manual process. However, the use of RFID tagging has made it possible to automate the tracking and management of RTIs, enabling companies to improve efficiency and reduce costs.


RFID tagging involves attaching a small UHF RFID tag or label to each RTI, which contains an RFID chip and antenna. The RFID tag is programmed with a unique identification number, which is linked to a database that contains information about the RTI and its contents. When an RTI is scanned using an RFID reader, the unique identification number is transmitted to the reader, which then sends the information to the database. 

Many rental companies rent RTIs to retail and supply chain businesses and what they do is tag the pallets and carets with UHF RFID tags like Smartrac DogBone RFID Dry Inlay Tag and often invoice the businesses on the basis of trips to the customers. 


The Benefits of RFID tagging RTIs

Apart from the sustainability benefits, cutting down on the plastic uses, the RFID tagging of RTIs has numerous other benefits.

Real Time Tracking and Enhanced Visibility

It enables real-time tracking of each RTI, allowing companies to monitor the location and movement of their RTIs at all times. It reduces losses and theft, as well as results in increased supply chain visibility.

Optimum Use of RTIs

RFID tagging also enables more efficient management of RTIs. Companies can use the data collected from RFID tags to optimize the use of RTIs, reducing the number of RTIs required and improving asset utilization to maximum. It results in significant cost savings for companies.

Accurate Data on Products 

It also enables better inventory management and product tracing. Business such as retail can use the data collected from RFID tags to identify which RTIs contain particular products, enabling faster and more accurate tracing of products through the supply chain.

Apart from that RFID tags on RTIs allows the owner to identify who breaks the pallets/carets while in use (it happens), and loss prevention steps can be taken accordingly. 


Sustainability with Reuse and Recycle 

RFID tagging of RTIs can also help to improve sustainability which is the need of the hour. Every business should strive towards adopting more sustainable business practices. By using RTIs instead of disposable packaging, companies can reduce plastic waste and lower their environmental impact. RFID tagging can also help to reduce the carbon footprint of RTI logistics, by enabling more efficient transport and reducing the number of RTIs required.


To summarize, RFID tagging of returnable transport items is a valuable tool for improving logistics and supply chain management. It allows for real-time tracking, efficient management, and better inventory management and product tracing, resulting in significant cost savings and sustainability benefits for companies. With RFID tagging of pallets and crates and bins, companies can have better insights into asset utilization, maintenance needs and breakage of RTIs as well. 


Disclaimer: The information presented here is for general information purposes only and true to best of our understanding. Users are requested to use any information as per their own understanding and knowledge. Before using any of the information, please refer to our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.

  • Created on Jul 18, 2023

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